McConnell: “Let’s Continue to Stand Together for Our Country”
‘Our discussions in the weeks ahead do not need to be partisan or contentious. There is nothing partisan about this coronavirus. And there is nothing partisan about the inspiring examples being set by citizens across our country.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the coronavirus response:
“It’s been little more than a hundred days since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the United States.
“Since then our nation has come face-to-face with this full-scale pandemic.
“Families have hunkered down and changed their routines. Bustling Main Streets have literally come to a halt.
“Essential workers have taken new precautions to keep supply chains running.
“And of course, brave healthcare providers have stretched the limits of their supplies and their stamina to care for patients.
“All the while, even with the entire country doing its best to fight this new disease, it has stolen the lives of nearly 70,000 of our fellow Americans.
“Our nation is facing the most severe pandemic since 1918 and quite possibly the worst economic shock since the Great Depression. And we are facing them at the same time.
“This is an historic challenge -- and the Senate is helping the country meet it.
“In early March, we passed an initial response to help communities handle the outbreak. We spent billions of dollars to enhance our public health response, to promote development of vaccines and treatments, and help the healthcare providers and small businesses in places that were then bearing the brunt of the virus.
“Just days later, we delivered billions more in a “Phase Two” bill. It sought to expand access to testing and help workers.
“And then we built the historic CARES Act, the largest rescue package in American history, and then passed it without a single vote in opposition. It sent more than $2 trillion in direct money to American households, support for employees’ paychecks, stability for major employers, and resources for the healthcare fight itself.
“Predictably, these huge, historic efforts have encountered some challenges along the way. There is no way the federal government could make years’ worth of small business loans in a few weeks, or rapidly cut checks to most American households, without any hiccups at all.
“But on the whole, it has been encouraging to see Congress, the Administration, the Federal Reserve, and the American people leap into action together to help our country.
“Our work is making a difference.
“But ultimately, we know there is no policy Congress could pass, nor any amount of money we could spend, that could keep the entire economy glued together if these blunt shutdowns continue indefinitely.
“So while our legislation has rightly poured money into short-term help for the economy, we have also made sure to invest in the tools and tactics we will need to contain and beat the virus so our country can step back towards normalcy. Testing. Tracking. Treatments. And the race for a vaccine.
“So our task in the weeks ahead will be to keep seeking thoughtful solutions that are not just for the very short term, but will help pivot towards a phased re-opening and recovery
“We will need to not only ask how we endure each week, but how we foster recovery on the other side.
“Early February feels like it was about two years ago. But the truth is that just 12 weeks ago, American workers and families were in one of the most prosperous economic moments in history.
“Wages were growing. Unemployment was near a 50-year low. Formerly-discouraged Americans were being drawn off the sidelines. The country was buzzing, from coast to coast.
“The American people built that. It is our job to help them build it again.
“As we carefully consider what may come in the weeks ahead, we’ll need smart and targeted policies to help jump-start our economic engine, not unrelated ideological wish-list items that would gum it up even further.
“The country will need pro-growth, pro-certainty policies. The last thing we’ll need is for the political left to view this national crisis as an exploitable opportunity to achieve other goals they’ve wanted for a long time.
“That is how, for example, former Vice President Biden has repeatedly described this pandemic: “An incredible opportunity… to fundamentally transform the country.”
“This cannot be about ideological transformation. It needs to be about what will actually work for the American people.
“Here is just one example of a commonsense policy that Republicans will insist on. Even as the entire country is rallying behind healthcare workers and small businesses, trial lawyers are already looking for ways to line their pockets by suing the very people we are bending over backwards to help.
“As one recent Washington Post column put it, “fear of COVID-19 lawsuits is not [some] mere Republican reflex.” It went on to list all sorts of lawsuits that are already pouring in. This kind of hostile climate would create yet another major headwind we cannot afford.
"So Republicans will be insisting on strong legal protections for the front lines. We won’t let our historic recovery efforts be diverted so that taxpayers foot the bill for the biggest trial-lawyer bonanza in our history.
“Our discussions in the weeks ahead do not need to be partisan or contentious. There is nothing partisan about this coronavirus. And there is nothing partisan about the inspiring examples being set by citizens across our country.
“In my home state of Kentucky, we’re proud of a father-daughter duo in Breathitt County. They both came down with the virus, they beat it, and then they turned right around and started donating plasma to the race for new medicines.
“We’re proud of the family resource coordinators of Fayette County Public Schools, who are collecting donated household supplies to add to weekly food deliveries for thousands of students and families.
“These stories only scratch the surface in the Bluegrass. And I know every one of my colleagues has stories of their own to tell.
“We are all in this together. We’ve stepped up to meet this challenge. Let’s continue to stand together for our country.”
Related Issues: Back to Work, COVID-19, Health Care, Economy